Saturday, December 7, 2013

17 PRODUCTIVE WAYS TO SPEND 5 MINUTES INSTEAD OF CHECKING YOUR EMAIL (AGAIN)

17 PRODUCTIVE WAYS TO SPEND 5 MINUTES INSTEAD OF CHECKING YOUR EMAIL (AGAIN)

SURE, CLEANING OUT YOUR INBOX CAN FEEL PRODUCTIVE, BUT YOU'RE REALLY NOT ACCOMPLISHING ANYTHING.


The ubiquity of smart phones means we never lack for a way to spend time. Stuck waiting for the elevator for 30 seconds? Next thing you know you’ve got your phone out of your pocket, and you’re deleting newsletters you can’t remember subscribing to.

Cleaning out the inbox feels productive, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not all that fun. Nor is it accomplishing much. At the end of your life, no one’s going to talk about your pristine inbox. Here are 17 better ways to spend bits of time to bring bits of joy into an ordinary day:

1. WORK ON YOUR BUCKET LIST

Pull it up, read what you’ve got on it, and start adding.

2. LISTEN TO A FAVORITE SONG.

Yes, you’ll need to use your headphones, but jamming out to Katy Perry for three minutes and 30 seconds will probably leave you feeling more energized than deleting marketing emails for a similar quantity of time.

3. READ A LITTLE BIT

Want to read more? You don’t need free hours to make it happen. DailyLit.com sends bite sized chunks of classics to your inbox, but you can also just keep a regular book in your desk drawer and read it, one page at a time. Books of poetry are good for this. You’re in and out (unless it’s The Wasteland).

4. TEXT YOUR PARTNER OR YOUR CHILDREN

Tell them you’re thinking about them. Text a friend to ask her about her day. Call, if you think the person might be available.

5. WRITE IN A JOURNAL

Jotting down a sentence here and there on specific moments of awesomeness can help you remember that your life is, in fact, awesome.

6. WRITE A REAL LETTER

Keep some note cards and stationery around and write a note to someone whose birthday is coming up, or a friend or colleague who did something intriguing. There’s no need to write more than three or four sentences, and you can definitely do that in five minutes. A random thank you note to someone who isn’t expecting one could actually make someone’s day.

7. STRETCH

Assume some other posture than the usual one of your rear in the chair, and breathe deeply.

8. LIFT SOME WEIGHTS

Do some push-ups or sit-ups if you’re not self-conscious (or you’ve got a door). But even if the whole office is staring at you, you can suck in your stomach or absentmindedly do a bicep curl with a paper weight.

9. STUDY YOUR CALENDAR

What can you get rid of? In five minutes, you may be able to buy yourself hours by . As a corollary, what do you not see that should be on there?

10. BRAINSTORM PERSONAL PRIORITIES FOR NEXT WEEK

We’re pretty good about setting work priorities, but personal ones tend to get short shrift. In five minutes, you could decide that next week you’ll go to the library, watch a favorite movie with your kids, and make your famous banana bread recipe on the weekend. Don’t go overboard--you don’t want to stress yourself out--but planning in a few fun anchor events gives you something to look forward to.
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